Know Your Rights

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As a survivor of crime, you have legal rights and options to protect your privacy and well-being.

You have these rights regardless of your immigration status or whether you report the crime to police. You may also be eligible for services and compensation to help you recover from the impacts of the crime. You can enforce your rights if necessary during the criminal justice process!

Under the Maryland Constitution, you have the right to be treated by police officers, prosecutors, judges, court personnel, and any agent of the state with dignity, respect, and sensitivity during all phases of the criminal justice process, including interviews, investigations, and court proceedings.

The police are required by law to notify you of your rights as a survivor of crime.

They should give you a copy of a pamphlet called Maryland Crime Victims and Witnesses: Your Rights and Services.

On the pamphlet, police are required to write their name, badge or sequence number, phone number, and complaint number (used to track your case). If they do not provide you with this pamphlet, ask for it with the officer’s information filled out.

If the case is prosecuted in circuit court, you have:

  • The right to be notified of court events related to your case.

  • The right to be present at court events related to your case.

  • The right to be heard before the defendant is sentenced by the judge.

  • The right to restitution and to collect on any judgment of restitution ordered by the judge. Restitution means you are to be paid back for any out-of pocket-expenses like medical bills or lost wages.

  • The right to be informed of a plea agreement.

Under the U.S. Constitution, you have these rights:

  • Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure. You have the right to say NO if the police ask you to give them your cellphone, medical records, or other information that could violate your privacy. You do NOT have to turn anything over unless police have a warrant to seize that property.
  • Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. You have the right to stop the interview if the police ask you questions that sound like they think you are at fault.
  • Sixth Amendment right to counsel. If the police ask you questions that make you feel uncomfortable or you suspect that they want to blame you for the crime, ask if you are being detained or if you are under arrest. If they say no, you can leave. If they say yes, tell them you want to speak to an attorney before answering any more questions.
we can help you regardless of your immigration status. you do not have to report the crime to police.

Check out our free self-help resources available to everyone.

What can you
do next?

If you qualify for our free services (or don't know if you qualify)
schedule intake call

Questions? Visit our contact page to send us an email or find our address.

Whether you qualify or not, check out our free online
self-help resources